"Below are a handful of my favorite acoustic-y songs (to be honest, some have a bit of electric something or other in there but come on, just roll with it)," she said. "This was a difficult task, because having to choose only a handful was like having to chose between children. I have about 1,000 favorite acoustic songs (and 2,000 favorite pop songs), but here are some that have been in rotation for me as of late and that get my heart growing Grinch-style (three sizes in one listen)."
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Fiona Apple - "Parting Gift" from "Extraordinary Machine." A brilliant woman and her piano, alone in a studio, just working through it. And, what's extra incredible about this track is that it was done in ONE take, and also, IT WAS THE FIRST TAKE. The hurt in her voice is so palpable I can't even bear it, yet I put it on repeat every time. She's my everything. (See also: "Werewolf" from "The Idler Wheel…," "I Know" from "When The Pawn…" and everything else that she's ever written k bye.)
Lauryn Hill - "Peace of Mind" from her MTV "Unplugged." You looking to cry uncontrollably today? Cool, cool, you've come to the right place. This track is a masterpiece, both as a song and a performance. (I dare you to not get full body chills when she wails, "Touch my mouth with your hands.") She is so brutally raw as she sings this that she actually breaks down toward the end. It is a vulnerable, spiritual performance that was captured in all of its live, imperfect glory, and it destroys me every time. The fact that she was able to be this intimate and vulnerable in front of a live audience is also mind blowing. Just a brilliant woman and her guitar, alone on stage, working through it. (Yes, I see the trend as well.)
Sia - "Lullaby" from "Some People Have Real Problems." I can always count on Sia for making me want to fly through the air in a gown and cry pearls while wearing a platinum blonde wig at the same time. She is such a visionary, and there is no one like her. Honestly, the rest of the list could've been Sia songs, but I need to stick to acoustic. And, her acoustic songs are just as powerful as her pop ballads. I put this song on when I'm walking around the city and feeling confused about my life… so, every day.
Bob Dylan - "Boots of Spanish Leather" from "The Times They Are A-Changin'" Okay. There are a lot of sad songs on this list, but let's get serious, they're the best. Nothing shoots straight through my heart like songs about letting go, and this one nails it. Plus that voice? That wail? Come on.
Robyn - "Hang With Me (Acoustic)" from "Body Talk, Pt. 1." I love Robyn. She is a spritely fairy sent from outer space/Sweden to help us dance and feel our feelings better. This acoustic version of "Hang With Me" is gorgeously arranged, and her voice soars. And, it checks all the boxes of what I like: sad, vulnerable, violins, swelling music, vulnerable, raw, sad.
Pearl Jam - "Just Breathe" from "Backspacer." Eddie Vedder is a master, duh. This is one of my favorite love songs of all time. (I didn't put it on the list, but also please listen to "Sirens" because it's a gorgeous love song as well about how fragile life is… brb calling all my loved ones.)
Bon Iver - "Skinny Love" from "For Emma, Forever Ago." Another downer, but I don't care. I love Bon Iver and would love to make a beautiful, melancholy bed out of his gorgeous voice and sleep in it forever. Also, this is one of those songs that evokes a very particular time in my life and can transport me back there instantly. The power of music is infinite.
Loudon Wainwright III - "Kick In The Head" from "Unrequited." I once did a movie with Loudon Wainwright and was extremely nervous around him (though he could not have been lovelier) because this song means so much to me. I finally got the courage to tell him on the last day, and when I did he laughed and asked if my grandparents had introduced me to it. I stuttered some unintelligible response and pretended to examine my shoes. Then he got in a van, and I never saw him again. I was too nervous to explain that this song is so beautifully angry and brutal and vulnerable and gorgeous that sometimes I'd keep it on repeat while I walked in circles around the city, and that it somehow was extremely cathartic for me, even though I wasn't entirely sure why myself. Even to this day.
Paul McCartney - "Maybe I'm Amazed" from "McCartney." One of the greatest songs of all time, period. This song is also extremely special to me because it reminds me of my dad, and we used to play it together when I was little. (One time it was used on "The Simpsons" when Homer and Lisa make up after a huge fight and I could not stop crying.) I don't have anything to say about this song that hasn't already been said or felt. Just listen to it. You'll see.
And, that's it! Well, that's not it because I have like a billion other favorite acoustic songs and am already feeling bad that they're not on here. But, this list is a good start.